Last but not least, we wrap up our Phillies All-Star Game Memories series with the greatest one of all (Mr. Cohen's exhilarating spec-fic explorations notwithstanding) -- Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison's walk-off blast for the National League in 1964 at the brand-new, pre-Beatles Shea Stadium.
The tragic events of September 1964 have obscured nearly all of the tremendous individual accomplishments of that season for the Phillies. Historic collapses have a way of doing that. But Callison's homer is among the great All-Star Game moments of all-time, coming hot on the heels of Jim Bunning's Father's Day Perfect Game, also at Shea Stadium. See, there IS a nice, long history of the Phillies clowning the Mets...
Led by young Dick Allen, Bunning, and Callison, the Phillies stormed into the All-Star Break in 1964 with a 47-28 record, 1.5 games up in the National League. Callison was in the midst of a 31 home run season, and the Phillies team had captured the imagination of a city used to baseball failure.
Callison's moment may not have happened if not for a gift call on a 2-2 slider to Willie Mays with the American League ahead 4-3 in the ninth inning. Mays was headed to the dugout when the umpire called a ball. Mays eventually walked and came around to score. Callison came to the plate with the score tied 4-4 against the Red Sox hurler Dick Radatz in the ninth with two outs and Doc Edwards and Orlando Cepeda on base. The rest is history, as thoroughly recounted here.
Callison would go on the finish second in MVP voting in 1964 (despite Dick Allen posting clearly superior numbers), and would hang 'em up in 1973 after brief stints with the Cubs and Yankees.
Callison retired to Glenside, where he passed away in 2006, a legend for one moment in 1964, even if the fanbase wonders what could have been had that Phillies team held on down the stretch.